Inaugural Participants Selected for OPERA America's Mentorship Program for Women
Backstage Brunch (Jan. 13) will benefit Mentorship Program and feature New York Premiere Performance of Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin
OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation's leading champion for American opera, is pleased to announce that protégés and mentors have been selected for the organization’s new Mentorship Program for Women.
OPERA America’s Mentorship Program for Women is intended to provide a unique opportunity for promising female administrators (protégés) in the field to be paired with established leaders (mentors), to help the protégés identify advancement barriers and create a plan for professional growth.
The following three protégé/mentor pairings have been selected for this first year of OPERA America’s Mentorship Program for Women:
The Mentorship Program for Women was created to help further the goals of the OPERA America’s Women’s Opera Network (WON), a task force designed to address and advance gender parity in the opera field. WON seeks to provide ongoing support for emerging female professionals in opera and to design programs that nurture and advance talented women.
“With its emphasis on building deep relationships between promising administrators and established leaders, OPERA America’s Mentorship Program for Women has the capacity to create real change for the participants and by extension the field,” stated Kathryn Smith, chair of the Women’s Opera Network Steering Committee and general director of Madison Opera. “This process will not only provide protégés with practical guidance, but also the confidence to use their new tools long after this year is complete. I am so grateful to everyone who supported last season’s Backstage Brunch and thus made the Mentorship Program possible. Investing in the future of female administrators is a true investment in the opera field itself.”
The mentors and protégés will work together during 2018 through remote as well as in-person sessions, such as at Opera Conference 2018 in June in St. Louis and in site visits to the mentors’ opera companies.
Mentors and protégés will also be in attendance at the second annual Backstage Brunch, a special morning to support the Mentorship Program and the Women’s Opera Network, on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in New York City. Co-chaired by Jeri Sedlar and Nancy Barton, the Backstage Brunch features the New York premiere of Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin, a song cycle by five women about the first female congresswoman, commissioned by OPERA America and performed by Heather Johnson, mezzo-soprano, and Mila Henry, pianist.
The performance will be followed by an interview with two women who are expanding the field of American opera: Paola Prestini, composer and co-founder/artistic director of National Sawdust, and Beth Morrison, president and creative producer of Beth Morrison Projects. Tickets for the Backstage Brunch are sold out, but donations to support the Women’s Opera Network and Mentorship Program are welcome. For more information about the Backstage Brunch, or to donate, visit operaamerica.org/BackstageBrunch.